The Best All-Girl Pop Group of the 80s
No, not that one. Or that one. I’m talking about The Go-Go’s.
[WARNING: this post contains controversial opinions. Those of a sensitive nature may wish to look away now.]
Perhaps you can think of a song, in which case: good work! Gold star. But over and over again I’ve found that people know nothing about them, even though they were one of the most successful girl groups of all time and – quite frankly – better than the other two. (I warned you…)
Here are my top reasons why I love The Go-Go’s and you should too:
1) Perfect pop
Just listen. My favourite is Head Over Heels (I like to think of it as the voice of the girl in Devo’s Out of Sync) but other hits include Our Lips Are Sealed, We Got The Beat and Vacation. Stupendously catchy choruses, simple lyrics, they’re like a revved-up 60s girl group. I guarantee you, one of these tracks will be stuck in your head all day.
Sorry for the terrible sound quality by the way – I thought you’d like to see the videos. There’s another great video for Vacation but the sound was too awful so you’ve got the karaoke version instead.
2) They played their own instruments and wrote their own songs
I’m not dissing The Bangles or Banarama, I love them too. I’m just saying they’re The Monkees to the The Go-Go’s Beatles.
3) For all your 1980s style needs
Think The Bangles or Bananarama have the last word on 80s fashion? Think again: The Go–Go’s may not have had as much hair but they did have VOLUME.
At one point they even looked a bit moody ‘n’ punk. Check out the braces! (Early on they toured with Madness…)
And guitarist Jane Wiedlin has sported some amazing looks:
- Anticipating the 1990s with fairy dress and pixie crop
- Top hat!
- …Russian folk chic? She has cool red tights, anyway.
4) Retro ironic album and single covers
Wheeeee! Anne Taintor eat your heart out.
5) Kicked ass in the charts
As someone with a lot invested in her ‘alternative’ identity (and a diehard contrarian) this doesn’t matter much to me. What I find surprising is that they aren’t better known given their chart success. They had a number one album and four Top 20 singles in the US. I read somewhere that they were the first all female group – who wrote their own songs and played their own instruments – to reach number one in the Billboard chart.
6) Better pop patron
I may lose some friends over this one. While The Bangles’ biggest hit, Manic Monday, was written for them by Prince, The Go-Go’s first hit, Our Lips Are Sealed, was co-written by Terry Hall of The Specials. I know who’s cooler. And I think, in your heart, you do too.
7) They get geek points
I don’t understand why The Go-Go’s are so often overlooked. Hopefully there will soon be an end to this injustice as they’ve been recently been given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, right outside The Masque club where they played their first gig. They’re also doing a reunion tour, celebrating the 30th anniversary of their first record, Beauty and the Beat.
Of course it doesn’t matter which was the best 80s all-girl pop group1 – the important thing is that they were all there, blazin’ a trail for the next generation to follow. If you’re interested in the history of women in pop and rock I recommend reading Lucy O’Brien’s She Bop II, and if you’re interested in what’s happening now head over to the cracking Wears The Trousers music blog2.